Guest Post: Give Unto Caesar - What To Pay When You're Selling

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jeff Clarke of Casey's Gold & Resource Report

Give unto Caesar - What to Pay When You're Selling

Proper planning with your finances is incomplete until you consider the endgame consequences of your investment decisions today. So, what are the tax consequences of selling gold, gold ETFs, and gold stocks?

There’s lots of conflicting and inaccurate tax information on the Internet about this. We know of one site that claims the sale of silver Eagles is exempt from capital gains tax due to some obscure law (not true). So, let’s nail down the current tax rules for selling gold in the U.S.

[The following information pertains to U.S. taxpayers only and is not intended as nor should be considered personal tax advice. Always consult a financial planner and/or tax professional before investing.]

?The IRS considers gold a “collectible” and will tax your capital gains at a 28% rate. This designation includes all forms of gold (other than jewelry), such as...

  • All denominations of gold bullion coins and numismatic/rare coins, gold bars, and gold wafers
  • ETFs like GLD, SLV, etc. (closed-end funds have different rules; see below)
  • Any electronic form of gold like GoldMoney and Bullion Vault
  • Any “paper” or certificate forms of gold, such as Perth Mint Certificates and EverBank accounts
  • All forms of pool gold, rounds, and commemorative coins

And the same designation and rules apply to silver, platinum, and palladium.

?“Reporting” requirements can be confusing. It is true that precious metals dealers aren’t required to report certain small sales to the IRS – but that doesn’t relieve you of the obligation. If you sold one gold or silver coin to your local dealer, he is not obligated under current regulation to report the sale. But selling at a profit requires you to report it and pay 28% tax on your gain.

Keep in mind that the Patriot Act obligates a dealer to report any “suspicious customer activity.” Therefore, don’t expect a wink from your dealer if you proclaim you won’t be reporting your sale or ask him to “book” only half the coins you sell him. There are people sitting in prison who’ve tried this.

?Gold stocks are not designated as a collectible and are therefore subject to the standard capital gains tax rates like all other stocks.

?Gold jewelry sales are not reportable. This makes the Heirloom Collection an attractive consideration and an excellent diversification maneuver (for both financial and romantic reasons!).

?We wouldn’t advise making your investment decisions based solely on tax considerations. You should own both gold and gold stocks for different reasons – gold for wealth protection and gold stocks for profit potential.

?There’s a lobbying arm for our industry, the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. Their efforts are mostly for dealers, but their website contains valuable information on this topic.

PFICs: Blessing or Curse?

For U.S. investors, there’s one more tax consideration if you own, or plan to own, a closed-end fund (whether it’s precious metals or otherwise).

For example, the Central Fund of Canada (which holds gold and silver bullion) is considered a Passive Foreign Investment Corporation (PFIC) for U.S. investors. This is a complex topic, but what I learned could save you some dinero now and some hassle later if you own a foreign closed-end fund like this one.
Keeping it simple, if you own CEF, you can qualify for the standard capital gains tax rates, instead of the 28% collectibles rate, if you file a timely and valid Qualified Electing Form, or QEF. There are several options you can take with a PFIC, but this is the most common election.

Even if you don’t sell the fund in any given year, you must file this form every year. If you don’t complete an annual QEF or make one of the other elections, you could get hosed when you eventually do sell because your gain will be considered ordinary income, forcing you to pay interest and penalties on top of the regular tax.

You can hold a PFIC stock for years without paying tax, but if you haven’t made a QEF or other election, you get the bad result we’re describing when you sell. Further, if the PFIC company reports income in a given year, this income is reportable and taxable as regular income that year, even if no stock was sold and even if the stock ended down on the year.

The point here is obvious: don’t blindly buy into a PFIC.

The QEF benefit is clear: you can cut your tax liability up to 46%, the difference between the 15% long-term capital gains rate and the 28% collectibles rate. Yes, capital gains rates are scheduled to rise next year, but this option still reduces your tax liability.

A successful investor is an informed investor, and you should read the prospectus of any closed-end fund before buying. And if you don’t want to mess with the tax hassle, use an ETF instead.

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buzzsaw99's picture

They're out of their flipping minds if they think I'm paying cap gains taxes on PMs.

tmosley's picture

Make normal, rational men into criminals.  This is what they want.  It is difficult to rule a nation of lawful men, but a nation of criminals can be controlled, first through guilt, then through "righteous" violence.

ZerOhead's picture

The more they print the more you pay! Brilliant!

I'm not sweating it though...  and you should see my new jewelry collection... :)

(Mr. T would be proud!)

ZerOhead's picture

And don't forget the matching keychains Buzzy... one for every key I own! (A little glue and some string... you'd be amazed at what passes for jewelry these days! :)

chumbawamba's picture

He could use some AutoTune.

I am Chumbawamba.

ZerOhead's picture

Joe Jones when gold was $300/oz... one smart motherfu%&er! I'll be sure to empty my pockets and take off my necklaces before I go for a swim! :)

Dr. No's picture

I have seen necklaces with a 1/0 oz American eagle, or some other bullion hanging from it.  A gold chain with 400 oz COMEX bar attached to it?  I know art when I see it!!

ZerOhead's picture

And no doubt you'll know hernia when you feel it!

boricuadigm-shift's picture

+1 Wow... Thats funny... :-)  Thanks for a good afternoon laugh.

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

It's time to repeat this story one more time.

While I was traveling in the Sinai dessert, I stopped at a town to buy gold jewelry. A Bedouin family traveling with Camels was buying 22K gold wire. (Semi-circle profile 1.4″ wide.) At the end of the bargaining, the store owner cut the wire into several 6-7 inches long pieces and crudely created bracelets. The Bedouin wife dressed in long black garb lifted her long sleeves and slipped the bracelets into her arms. To my amazement it looked like she had bracelets going al the way up to her underarms.

The owner explained to me later that they were traveling between Egypt, Israel, Gaza, Jordan and other countries. No trust in paper money and counterfeit bills. Any time they make money on trading, they buy more gold wire, anytime they need money, they go to the gold market of whichever country they are in and sell bracelets.

Footnote: assay kits range from $15 for acid testing to $200 for electronic sophisticated ones.

18k gold will price at 3/4 of the spot price of a $24k oz.

msjimmied's picture

The way the Indians got around the $200 that the government would allow in exchange while they had currency controls, was to wear a lot of gold jewelry on their way out of the country. At their destination, they go to an Indian jeweler who would pay them in the local currency. There was the "Hawala" method of shadow banking as well. Most of my physical is in 24k jewelery. Never wear the stuff. All I need is an Indian jeweler and I'm in cash. If you decide to buy the jewelry, go for the plain bracelets, in 1/4 ounce, 1/2 ounce or an ounce. You are never going to wear it anyway, too soft. When you sell it, it is the weight of the gold that counts, so don't get fancy.


Crab Cake's picture

TM you nailed it sir.

Play their game their way, and pay them exorbinant tribute for the pleasure, or be criminalized.

A bit off topic, but what else would you expect from a cabal that makes a plant illegal; next up oak trees and dandelions.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Yes and cannabis has everything to do with this financial collapse.  Just imagine, weed had been legal since day 1 we would not have had any wars.  This because no one would be all uptight.  We would have a had a huge surplus of funds to work with, hemp oil could have mitigated peak oil, and we would all be without cancer.  This and we would have never let the banksters take over.  For real.

Cypress Hill - I Wanna Get High:

Cypress Hill : Hits From The Bong:

Teaser's picture

You're right, they're out of their flippin minds.

LowProfile's picture

I expect many estate lawyers will find during probate that physical gold coins will have been stolen without the deceased's knowledge.

Stealin' from the dead, I tell ya!  Criminals!

JohnG's picture


"Do not expect men to remain good when thier means of survival has been made evil."


--Ayn Rand

DosZap's picture

Unless I missed it in the Blog, if you sell in less than a year, your tax is 15% on the gains..28% after a Year.

akak's picture

And isn't the 28% rate quoted the MAXIMUM rate, depending on income?

I don't think this 28% cap tax rate on bullion is across-the-board, regardless of the nominal gain.

nmewn's picture

Exchanging AFTER tax, state sanctioned "legal tender" paper currency for a state sanctioned "legal tender" metal currency...and paying a hefty PREMIUM to boot to do so, every transaction...and they in turn tax said metal currency when reverting back to paper??? trustworthy.

I bet JP Morgan owes a couple tons on the silver they've got in their vaults (snark)...and shorted with paper...LOL.

Gosh...seems to me without them knowing what the "paper price" paid at purchase is...ya know I'm really not very good at picking PM's genetic I think...was 1237 the bottom???...if not, I got taken.

I may need to find a more "trustworthy" source for my next purchase ;-)

Iam_Silverman's picture

I agree with your line of thinking.  To simplify, isn't receiving a gold/silver/platinum/palladium coin when tendering paper money the same as "getting change"?  And shouldn't converting your change back to FRN's be the same as delivering any other coin to a person who will return paper money the same thing - but in reverse?


American Eagles - change I can believe in!

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Hire your kid for $100 / day.  Pay him/her 2 Gold Eagles ($50 legal tender).

Or even better give it away!  200 Gold Eagles ($50) per year = $10,000!


A message to .gov (H/T to Chumbawamba):

I fart in your general direction!

chumbawamba's picture

Only because Kahre opened a hole in the tax structure's space-time continuum and the government had to invoke Satan to close it back up again.

Kahre is just one more political prisoner of the banksters.

I am Chumbawamba.

dark pools of soros's picture

totally agree..  since I doubt most of us would sell any large amounts until AFTER the shit hittith the fan, then the rules change or go away completely anyway

Crisismode's picture



First and Foremost,


Have since time immemorial been set up through a simple but very effective dialectic . . .


To wit . . . .


A Government is created.


Its first order of business is to create a system of taxation


for the purpose of transfering the maximum amount of monies possible


from the Fealty to the Nobility.


And 'twas ever thus.



ConfederateH's picture

"don’t blindly buy into a PFIC.

Isn't that hidden in Barney Frank's underpants?

crosey's picture

As usual, tax code that is too complicated.  Alternative:

10% flat personal income tax over $50,000 income

No deductions, no loopholes

Constitutional amendment requiring an annual balanced budget, no loopholes (including unfunded liabilities)

Gold standard on reserve currency

ConfederateH's picture

Crosey, it is far too complicated.  But what else would you expect with Geitner in charge of Treasury, Rangel of ways and means, and Frank leading finance services.

Face it, the entire US government is a farce, and only complete idiot like Denninger would try to claim that tax avoidance is somehow immoral.

The US is the only country in the world that cares so little about expats that it tries to tax their entire world wide income.  No wonder that there is a total stampede of expats and international corporations trying to pry off Barney Frank's yoke of enslavement. 

LowProfile's picture

Some might go so far to say that tax avoidance is your patriotic duty.

Mako's picture

Absolutely no reason to have a personal income tax rate at any level of government, of course most people confuse what the income tax is and isn't.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Income Tax is BAD because .gov sticks its snout into our personal privacy.

Dump the Income Tax and VAT us or Sales Tax us.

Mako's picture

No reason nor justification for a personal anything either at the income level or retail level.  All taxes should appear to be invisible to them unless they are involved in a public right. 

BlackBeard's picture

Hah!  You'd be asking your public servants to fire themselves if they ever did something so reasonable!

Mako's picture

I gave up on lawyers a long time ago.  I even had this one lawyer say the DA could prosecute me without a complaint and summons for a traffic ticket.   It was actually a friend of the family.   Later I showed him my dismissal for lack of service and process of service.  To think I would take advice from someone like that.  And if you go to 99.99% of all lawyers they would tell you the same thing. 

rrbluefin's picture

I'll pay my cap gains with lead.  The hollow point copper jacketed variety.

BobPaulson's picture

The bullion I bought in Canada had no tax. I will not declare when I sell, full stop. Of course this means I have to sell in small quantities for cash. In person is best.

BlackBeard's picture

Do it on Ebay.  Fat Premium, just make sure you don't clear over 20K/mth in paypal.

darkpool2's picture

when you NEED to sell, there will no longer be paper trails to worry about.....and you probably wont be accepting green-backs for it either !

Yes, Canada is one solution....

BobPaulson's picture

I have a bit of an advantage cause I live in Canada but you can buy coins with a generic money order that you get from the post office. All cash, name on nothing. Just don't get mugged in the parking lot.

Sudden Debt's picture




AR15AU's picture

Starting next year, paypal will issue a 1099 for all sales... CL / cash is what its looking like...

DosZap's picture

Starting next year, ALL transactions over $600.00 will require 1099's.

If you sell ONE ounce, or 500, at a reputable  PM's Dealer, you WILL get a 1099...........

And you best keep up with the cost basis(invoice), and sale price.

Look for (unless the House is taken back in Nov,and that's usre no done deal), for a FAR higher rate of taxation on PM deals..............

They do not like them to begin with as we know.

akak's picture

"Starting next year, ALL transactions over $600.00 will require 1099's."

If there is ever going to be ANY reason to start a real modern-day Tea Party and tax rebellion, this it it!  This is going to be so fucking onerous, particulary for small businesses, which I believe it is designed to hamper and further push into extinction.

JUST SAY "NO!" TO 1099s!